How to work effectively with a difficult boss

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    Key Books


    Coward's Guide to Conflict


    The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense


    Who's Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life

    Ten Signs of an Incompetent Leader

    Posted: 10/19/2004 8:40:38 AM

    Incompetent Leaders

    By Chris Ortiz

    Author: 40+ Overtime Under Poor Leadership

    Book Available at: Authorhouse.com

    Poor leadership surrounds us, it’s a fact of life and they seemingly find a way to keep their jobs. They are more focused on their personal needs and not of the professional needs of those below them. They have a hard time developing their employees because they lack the proper management techniques to do so. A leader is someone who you would follow to a place you would not go alone. Leadership is about action not status.

    However, the question is, how do we know when we are dealing with these flaw ridden individuals. A lot of the time, a poor manager can make the perception that he/she is busy and organized. I have developed a small guideline that can help pinpoint these leaders.

    Incompetent Leaders will:

    1. Delegate work rather than balance work loads. This allows all attention to be diverted from them in case of failure. It may seem to them that are managing their people but in actuality they are creating work imbalances within the group. It can create unnecessary overtime for some and under utilization of others. A good manager is aware of the skill sets of all the people below them and should allocate work accordingly while trying to enhance the skills of everyone to be even more productive.

    2. Reduce all answers to Yes or No rather than explaining their reasoning. This is an example of a crisis manager who can not think farther than a few hours ahead. A yes/no manager finds it a waste of time to find the real answer through intellectual thought. They are already thinking about the next crisis.

    3. Not separate personal life from professional life. They will bring their personal problem to work. Working for these types of managers can be very dramatic. They are unable to separate their emotional imbalances while trying to manage people. They are less focused and will not give you the attention and direction you need for success.

    4. Manage crisis. If you are a company that has crisis managers, then you can say goodbye to innovation and progression. Proactive thinking is critical to the success of any company. If you are not finding ways to stop or reduce the amount of crisis that has to be managed, then your competition will pass you by. Leaders have to think out of the box and make change.

    5. Create an environment where mistakes are unacceptable. Being held accountable for wrong decisions is a fear for them. Making mistakes only helps you become a better person, manager, etc. I use the analogy of a basketball player that has no fouls. If they are not going for the ball and taking chances with their opponent, then they are trying hard enough. Take a chance and don’t be scared.

    6. Humiliate or reprimand an employee within a group. This is a clear and visible sign of a poor leader. A good leader takes employee problems away from a group setting to a more private setting. If you have a boss that does this, it is time for a visit to human resources.

    7. Not stand behind subordinates when they fail. Never leave your people to hang out to dry. Always back them up, right, wrong, or indifferent. If an employee tries their best in a situation and they fail to come through. They should be commended on their effort and not punished for the failure

    8. Encourage hard workers not smart workers. I am not impressed with hard workers. A hard worker is usually defined by hours. Smart workers are the ones that I hire and embrace. Smart workers understand the concept of time management and multi-tasking. Poor leaders miss this connection. Smart workers are methodical in their thinking and can generally be successful because of their abilities management projects and time. Hard workers may take twice as long to do the work. It is important to assign work accordingly to the skills and personalities

    9. Judge people on hours not performance. This is similar to #8. Again, I am not impressed with overtime junkies. They have lost all perspective on a healthy family/balance. Bad managers will promote the employees that work the most hours and not look at the smart ones who work less……….meaning have better time management. Stop watching the lock.

    10. Act differently in front of their leaders. This is an indication of low self-confidence. They have doubts about their own ability to lead and they will act like little children when authority is present. A confident person acts the same around everyone. Remember, have respect for them, but also have self-respect.

    About the Author

    Chris Ortiz is a senior lean consultant and the owner of Kaizen Assembly. He has spent the majority of his professional career working for Fortune 500 companies, teaching and guiding them to become more efficient businesses. He has designed and constructed well over 100 assembly lines and other manufacturing processes resulting in millions of dollars in cost savings and waste reduction.

    He is the author of 40+: Overtime Under Poor Leadership and his Ten Signs of an Incompetant Leader ihas received international recoginition. Chris has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel, and dozens of work life balance newsletters and trade magazines. He is an active speaker on workplace related issues and writes articles on leadership, overtime, and employee based programs.

    Chris can be reached at chrisortiz@kaizenassembly.com or visit his company's website at www.kaizenassembly.com

    Email Link  |  iFaveIt


    Comments: [add a comment]

    User: lecohen
    Date: 12/24/2004 7:37:00 PM

    Been there...first hand experience of all the above, a living nightmare that I didn't walk away from for 2 years! Mental state was deteriorating! Finally took the plunge...tribunal did the trick! Never felt better...if you are in a similar situation, find the strength in yourself to walk away, seek support from family and friends (not from work colleagues, they will stab you in the back). You are not alone, good luck!


    User: dougg
    Date: 2/20/2005 5:38:00 PM

    I recently changed employers after suffering with an incompetent manager for 4 years. It was difficult - I had been with the company for 13 years and am 49 years old. I was very fortunate to find a job which is a good fit for my skills and offers the opportunity to get my career moving forward again. Plus, my mental state is improving markedly. In the article above it says a visit to HR is in order if the boss exhibits certain behaviors. In my situation I discovered that HR was definitely more on the side of the incompetent manager than on the side of the employee. It was bizarre. The manager had no technical or leadership skill, and was dishonest and vindictive. Projects were failing and people taking lateral transfers just to get out. Regardless, the organization was protective and supportive of the manager. My former employer is a large corporation that ought to know better, but apparently it did not. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Any idea why it can happen?


    User: devin_d
    Date: 2/22/2005 9:28:00 PM

    Incompetent leaders are more the norm than not. I have endured several but have also grown with other leaders that were good for the company. My answer to the questions of why and with companies that should know better: who should know better; the bad boss' boss? S/He might be worse! My thoughts over the years lead me to believe the reason lies with conflict avoidance, compromise avoidance and/or egocentrics at the top levels of management. As a manager, I dislike conflict -like addressing tardyness, poor productivity, etc.. as much as the next guy, but undertow- not addressing the obvious with subordinates- is worse and travels farther & deeper in an organization. Intuitive, educated, experienced, decisive managers can succeed with staff if staff believe's H/Her intentions are in the best interests of the organization as a whole. It's obvious to us when self serving managers .... are. It's also obvious when leadership resonates and people naturally follow it. Celebrate and model successful leaders where you find them as it is truly rare.


    User: dizzy62
    Date: 3/2/2005 12:34:00 PM

    My husband,47, worked for a father/son owned company 19yrs. The "son", who is a spoiled brat, is all of the above and more. After husband was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, son advised radiation v surgery. "You won't miss work with radiation"! My husband opted for surgery and asked for time off. Three weeks son fired him. The reason: "Things just not working out"...


    User: lebow
    Date: 3/8/2005 3:15:00 AM

    i wish i could totally agree with this article a lot of times i work hard stay late but clock out on time or early meaning. example schuled to work 12pm to 11:45 pm at closing I would clock out at 11:45 pm but i was usually there past midnight still cleaning an area i took my time to make sure the area i was to clean was clean and cleaned right. I want that area to look good for the customers tomorrrow is that so wrong.


    User: dougg
    Date: 3/9/2005 9:30:00 PM

    Nothing wrong lebow. Taking pride in your work is a great thing. dizzy62, you might want to contact the EEOC. Being fired for illness and/or age is illegal. I hope things work out ok.


    User: chance
    Date: 3/11/2005 11:43:00 AM

    #10 is especially important. Everyone is a human and deserves equal treatment. It's human nature to sometimes act different around the higher ups, but there's a big difference between acting a little different and acting like you have multiple personalities. I've seen a lot of managers who become completely different people around the big cheeses. It's pathetic and it's the quickest way to lose the respect and support of your front line workers.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/9/2005 9:30:00 PM

    I am currently on a team with seven others, and we are experiencing an abusive work environment. My manager is isolating us from the rest of the organization, thinking she can change company policies to reflect her own desires, and reprimanding us on a regular basis. We are feeling helpless. Our director (my boss's supervisor) avoids conflict and is incompotent as well. She keeps ignoring the problems we have. HR keeps brushing our comments under the rug. We are all documenting incidents at this point. Feeling very frustrated. Any suggestions?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/11/2005 9:30:00 PM

    Sadly, the situation sounds pretty bleak (out of your control, not likely to change). When faced with something similar I voted with my feet, others are doing the same or doing their best to keep their heads down and survive. "Survival" can be difficult, I learned the hard way that long-term emotional stress causes major health issues. My best advice = decide what is best for YOU, and do it.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 5/1/2005 11:37:00 PM

    I walked out of my last job one month ago. My manager was very stupid. She would not accept any mistakes. Whenever you ask her questions, the answer she had was " I don't know". I was fearing for my job, and my future with the company. I spoke with my friends and family and made decision of resigning. I feel so much better after reading this article because i know i'm not alone and i was not going crazy thinking there are bad bosses out there who only care for their growth. Thanks


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 6/11/2005 7:35:00 AM

    I resigned yesterday from my job and feel a lot better. I put a letter of grievance to let them know what was going on. My case was so strong and they have to pay me 2 weeks with PTO with a letter of reference. My 2 bully bosses ( one is female andother is half & half (F/M))got mad that I dumped all my files of my personal job tracking spreadsheet. I told only use your brain instead of picking brain from others. It is like copying friend's homework and try to get A in class and they thought that they are so smart. But I call it "cheating" Eat too much junk food and smoke every hour, I don't know how much white and grey matter left over in their brain. S/he had copied all my work in to her file without asking permission before they set the dateline to dump me out. I just searched all files under my initial, found so many duplicated files. I know myself that I may end up one day. They had done the same thing 8 months ago to get the position. This is very sad to see such a people like that wearing suit, act professional still work around in the office with lack of competence. I talked to my HR. She is new to the workplace. I told her that being HR, she needs to be neutral but bullying is there, she makes her choice to save her seat. I can see why so many workplace got so many problems like this. They become supervisor or manager too fast, lack of good managerial skills, with lack of education this also make it hard to see thing through, lack of analytical thinking, self-interests and so on. Immatured managers make the company like a zoo.


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 6/11/2005 7:36:00 AM

    I resigned yesterday from my job and feel a lot better. I put a letter of grievance to let them know what was going on. My case was so strong and they have to pay me 2 weeks with PTO with a letter of reference. My 2 bully bosses ( one is female andother is half & half (F/M))got mad that I dumped all my files of my personal job tracking spreadsheet. I told only use your brain instead of picking brain from others. It is like copying friend's homework and try to get A in class and they thought that they are so smart. But I call it "cheating" Eat too much junk food and smoke every hour, I don't know how much white and grey matter left over in their brain. S/he had copied all my work in to her file without asking permission before they set the dateline to dump me out. I just searched all files under my initial, found so many duplicated files. I know myself that I may end up one day. They had done the same thing 8 months ago to get the position. This is very sad to see such a people like that wearing suit, act professional still work around in the office with lack of competence. I talked to my HR. She is new to the workplace. I told her that being HR, she needs to be neutral but bullying is there, she makes her choice to save her seat. I can see why so many workplace got so many problems like this. They become supervisor or manager too fast, lack of good managerial skills, with lack of education this also make it hard to see thing through, lack of analytical thinking, self-interests and so on. Immatured managers make the company like a zoo.


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 6/11/2005 7:36:00 AM

    I resigned yesterday from my job and feel a lot better. I put a letter of grievance to let them know what was going on. My case was so strong and they have to pay me 2 weeks with PTO with a letter of reference. My 2 bully bosses ( one is female andother is half & half (F/M))got mad that I dumped all my files of my personal job tracking spreadsheet. I told only use your brain instead of picking brain from others. It is like copying friend's homework and try to get A in class and they thought that they are so smart. But I call it "cheating" Eat too much junk food and smoke every hour, I don't know how much white and grey matter left over in their brain. S/he had copied all my work in to her file without asking permission before they set the dateline to dump me out. I just searched all files under my initial, found so many duplicated files. I know myself that I may end up one day. They had done the same thing 8 months ago to get the position. This is very sad to see such a people like that wearing suit, act professional still work around in the office with lack of competence. I talked to my HR. She is new to the workplace. I told her that being HR, she needs to be neutral but bullying is there, she makes her choice to save her seat. I can see why so many workplace got so many problems like this. They become supervisor or manager too fast, lack of good managerial skills, with lack of education this also make it hard to see thing through, lack of analytical thinking, self-interests and so on. Immatured managers make the company like a zoo.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/24/2005 9:04:00 PM

    Thanks for all your comments. If you have questions for me I will be happy to start watching the site more regularly and provide some answers. Chris Ortiz


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/10/2005 9:00:00 AM

    Hi Chris.. Please check the site, I like to hear some more from you in terms of suggestions etc. I am doing much better after taking a rest, went for trips after leaving that zoo. I talked to some of my friends they said there is no people apply my position yet because they knew what was going on. There is another person who worked with me was disappeared already too. He worked very hard, they dumped all the work for him, he spoked from his honest to tell how he feel and he was dumped out from the system too. This is the way they did, they gave me two days off and called me one day before I returned to work (my last day). In the past, before this lady got this position, they scheduled them 2 - 3 days off, called one day ahead "NOT TO RETURN." Became a DIR, her career is to clean rooms and toilet bowls for 25 years. Think about skills in management and managing people. How she became the boss because of manipulation. What's an abuse head she has ? She cleans everyone who are on her way of success. What a Ms. PiTa.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/19/2005 1:45:00 PM

    Chris, Now that you've identified them, what do you do about them? Or should I write that book :-)


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/19/2005 2:06:00 PM

    Funny.... Good question, and probably the question of the century. The incompetant leaders I have had the unlucky fortune to work for were hard to deal with but I still confronted them when necessary. Even some of the worst leaders have a level of respect for those who stand up for themselves. One of problems in our socitey is that we identify ourselves by the jobs we have, the hours we work, and the companies who employ us. We don't care about who is a good father or husband, or if the employee is actively involved in volunteering (as an example). This creates an indentity crisis, and many people feel confronting a bad boss is wrong and they should do as they are told. Fear of losing a job is the main reason why people avoid confrontation with their superior. As rash as it may seem, if you have an incompetant boss that is making your life terrible, start looking around for other opprotunities and find ways to enhance your skills to be more recognizable by a good leader. The number one reason I have left companies in my career even after 10 months of employment was because of incompetant leaders.........and I am not ashamed of it. I hope I have shed some light on the issue. It is a very tough question to answer. Chris Ortiz


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 7/20/2005 10:58:00 AM

    Chris Write "How to find a good leader and a good boss ? Give (some) criteria / references. Thanks in advance


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 7/20/2005 11:20:00 AM

    want to be a co-author with you, Chris.. We should write How to find a good leader and a good boss? How is that sound to you ? Ha ha... Multicultural viewpoints, I am serious.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/20/2005 12:35:00 PM

    Ten Sign of a Competant Leader? Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/31/2005 11:34:00 AM

    I recently started a new job with a corporation I've been wanting to work with for years. My immediate boss matches most of the items listed. Although I've only been with this company a very short time, I have to wonder about the saying, It takes two to tango". MEaning, nobody can be a bully unless you let them be a bully. So, last week, I began speaking up, rather loudly and harshly at times, and while his behavior will porbably remain as it is, I don't go home every night feeling like a battered idiot.


    User: siggpuppy
    Date: 7/31/2005 5:03:00 PM

    In fact, I had dealt with my boss more than six months before I resigned. The upper line saw that I gained more resoect and popularity from other departments. So, he thought that he/she needed to get rid of me before they (GM and other managers) know who get the job done.... Ahh.. hah began speaking up.. loud or not loud.. this does not mean anythiung much... if they want to bully you.. they do it anyhow... One may act like a tame dog.. who can be survived...


    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/19/2005 11:26:00 PM

    I feel like a light bulb has just gone on! I work in a small department of a large company with terrible interim director who was removed for poor outcomes. New director has been in house 6 weeks(but only parttime). I was looking forward to new direction and had my first meeting with the new director. It was like being hit in the stomach. ..was told my contract would not be renewed due to poor evaluation from previous director.I have been with the company 2o yrs and never had anyone discuss any problems with me. Even with excellent evaluations and all goals met I'm being dismissed. It's pretty much an old boys club and all of management supports each other so I'm definitely on my own.(HR was useless.)When i asked questions the reply was always "I don't know". So comforting to know that there are definitely people in powerful positions who don't have a clue. I don't want to be a member of a team that sets another member out to dry but it is so hard to suck it up and go in everyday until new employment is found.Sigh!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/20/2005 1:30:00 PM

    I often felt that if a employee is productive and hard working this would spare him/her from being a target of ridicule and criticism. I realized after finding myself in a volitile work environment, that that is not the case. Eventhough throughout the years I proved to be one of the top managers for my department, I was a target of bullying. The bullying began with my immediate supervisor, who was abraisive and rude. Every time he would call me to his office I would dread the outcome. I became very resentful of this man, who didn't recognize my potential, and who tried in every possible way to destroy my confidence. The last time I was called to the office, and yelled at, I decided to leave. Hard as it was, I feel that it was a decision that had to be made to preserve my mental well being. Homer Simpson said it best: Your lives are in the hands of men who are no smarter than you or I, many of them incompetent boobs. I know this because I've worked alongside them, gone bowling with them, watched them pass me over for promotions time and time again . . . and I say, this stinks. - Homer Simpson, of the television show The Simpsons


    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/24/2005 11:52:00 AM

    Just a word to reinforce how imcompetence reaks havoc in the workplace. New boss gets the entire department together and reports changes are ahead.Reclassification of job descriptions underway and he cannot assure people will keep their current job if they do not fit the job role. Mind you, he is talking to the same group that have endured 2 other supervisors in a 3 year period and management decisions have all resulted in bad outcomes due to management and not individual job performances. This group of workers have just sucked it up,done their jobs and remained loyal. Now that fear has been introduced into the workplace I have been approached and asked to give references for about half of the workers. So, instead of focusing on the good with the workers and utilizing their experience and expertise he has now created an environment that people want to flee from. The department and institition are willing to risk manpower at the expense of a bad boss. I'm supportive of my employees and have job search going on myself. The boss isn't interested in hearing anything from us managers.I am strong in my convictions that I owe my employees who have been loyal and good workers the professional courtesy of a good reccomendation and to heck with the risk of being discovered. At this point noone has alot to loose except alot of workplace stress and incompetent management.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/5/2005 7:11:00 AM

    marginalized at work, outcasted,looked over because I am a go getter at work. Each time I alert management to issues or conflicts that need to be addressed I get looked at negatively as to "who do you think you are" although, many come to me for resolution than my supervisor she hates that fact and bad mouth my work ethic to our manager who knows I am a cabable, efficient and thorough worker. I sit each day pretending I am busy as the next person. The other workers play the game of outcasting me and I smile and grin and keep a happy perspective but inside I hate the game. The supervisor tries to keep me in the error zone and lets me know she is documenting them. She has even crossed the line of trying to make others believe I am crazy.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/6/2005 9:57:00 PM

    I wonder if any of you have a boss like my. She is so sensitive she cries often, shares her love life stories, her painful past...that is not as bad as the fact that she is so sensitive to any comment or suggestion you make. she thinks every comment is against her and she will be so defensive and ignore you for hours on end if she is in that mood. she will act so hurt and run around and tell all the staff how she has been hurt. she does not get along with the other directors and talks non stop of how bad they all are. that she is sensitive and they are not. she has a heart and they do not. she tries to do it all and complains that she does it all. she is so moody and yell at people when she feels hurt by someone. it is impossible to discuss anything with her without her getting hurt and running to all of her friends, that are also her employees and talking bad of the person that has hurt her for that day. just wondered if I was alone. mark


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/8/2005 2:20:00 AM

    My current boss just recently passed me over for a promotion mainly because I went to HR about her abusive behavior - she yelled at me. In her arrogance she never apologized. HR made her apologize but she has said some untrue things about me and my work that have gotten back to me. The crazy thing is that she is the Ethics leader for our organization. Right now she's taking credit for leading a training effort that she ignored for the past two years and barely gave a damn about. The only reason she's protected is because she is in her mid 50s. She is the most incompetent person I have ever met. My company has a reputation for allowing incompetents to screw up numerous times. My boss is extremely passive aggressive and is a parrot - she'llrepeat any damn thing you say and make it appear that she knows the answer. Ask her a question and she buckles. She's selfish, no kids (that's the best thing she ever did, no procreation). She's a phony and has managed to fool people in our company for at least 15years.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/8/2005 2:21:00 AM

    My current boss just recently passed me over for a promotion mainly because I went to HR about her abusive behavior - she yelled at me. In her arrogance she never apologized. HR made her apologize but she has said some untrue things about me and my work that have gotten back to me. The crazy thing is that she is the Ethics leader for our organization. Right now she's taking credit for leading a training effort that she ignored for the past two years and barely gave a damn about. The only reason she's protected is because she is in her mid 50s. She is the most incompetent person I have ever met. My company has a reputation for allowing incompetents to screw up numerous times. My boss is extremely passive aggressive and is a parrot - she'llrepeat any damn thing you say and make it appear that she knows the answer. Ask her a question and she buckles. She's selfish, no kids (that's the best thing she ever did, no procreation). She's a phony and has managed to fool people in our company for at least 15years.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/9/2005 10:45:00 AM

    I'm reading these posts and wondering why companies don't make all managers/employees subscribe to an oath to just be decent people. There is alot of diversity in the workplace but at the end of the day a healthy work environment would assure everyone has been treated with respect and professionalism which in turn should promote a robust sense of team spirit. Noone suceeds in a workplace where egos run rampant! A good manager assist employees by ensuring they have a healthy work environment and a great manager motivates employees to excel in their roles. Hidden agendas, back stabbing and creating fear should all be forbidden. Lately our society just loves the idea of deceit and dysfunction-look at all the reality shows that thrive on the concept of "voting people" off and how popular they have been. Seem like Americans just can't get enough of behaving badly and there is no better playground for this than in the workplace! What a shame:(


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/31/2005 9:32:00 PM

    News flash-folks who are good employees do loose jobs for reasons totally unrelated to the job. Today I handed in my resignation after being told to either resign or have nonrenewed contract on record. The reasons for this were more than vague but the mention that other co-workers had complained about me was at the top of the list although no specifics or previous discussion had transpired. After handing in my resignation ( I gave 2 months notice) my boss then asked me to stay longer to help out during a busy period. Excuse me...mixed message here...not good enough to renew contract and want me to resign then ask me to help out those who have backstabbed me??? Confused,dazed and disoriented by poor management!! Soon it will be water under the bridge but the last 8 weeks are going to tough after being told to resign but under the gun to help out those that complained about me.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/2/2005 12:33:00 PM

    Thanks for the input. I have heard of a few people I have coached that said question #10 worked well. It is in your approach. The key to this question is not about arrogance but simply asking the company what they have to offer you in general. Finding talent these days is tough and employers are struggling to find ways to find and retain it. Just try to get a feel if they want you. There is nothing wrong with that. Thanks again! Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/3/2005 10:13:00 AM

    Chris: What is question #10?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/3/2005 1:51:00 PM

    I think it went in this article discussion on accident. Should have gone to the Ten questions article. Huh?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/16/2005 1:52:00 PM

    How do you get the higher ups in a company to see what we see and react?? Please don't say we need to confront the poor supervisior, thats career suicide and a need to sharpen up the old resume if we did that.The bad supervisors don't think they are bad.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/30/2005 9:17:00 PM

    Sorry for all this turmoil - I can relate. Went back and worked for a incompetent boss after quiting 5 yrs. ago. (family owned co.-he-son)He now got me back -he did not pay me what promised and fired me after 3 wks. with no reason or warning-p.s. I was 1,000 miles away from home. Still having trouble getting over it.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 12/16/2005 7:02:00 AM

    WOW. It feels like I am reading my own words with a lot of the posts here. My boss is a control freak/perfectionist always defensive, very insecure, unapproachable and moody! Oh, and backstabber...complete phony...pretends to be your friend but she doesn't really care! I think it is important for employees to feel that they are important and cared for. My boss dehumanises work...it is morally degrading to work in that sort of environment. It feels so comforting to know I am not alone!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 12/27/2005 3:40:00 PM

    Yes, I too am enduring an incompetent boss who is in the good graces of the company. All of his friends work at the same place. He's a baseball umpire and depends on one of his buddies that's a programmer to help him do his job because he's the manager without a lot of technical skills. I am very educated and he makes "you think you're so smart, figure this out" moves all the time. His answers are "yes" or "no" and he won't explain anything even after his direct boss tells him to. He bullies the woman under him and protects his favorites when they screw up. When I screw up, he shouts it up and down the halls at work and everyone seems to go along with whatever he says. He has committed career assignation on me since I started there and it doesn't look like he's going to stop any time soon. Is there anything I can do? If I go to HR, they will find a way to get rid of me. Isn't there a law about this?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/2/2006 2:54:00 PM

    It depends of you work in a "right to work" state. If you do then unfortunetly you are in a bind. I worked for a company once where HR was not really on our side. I left. Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/4/2006 9:47:00 PM

    What can you do when a supervisor is at fault? After you've been wronged, where is the refuge and the assistance? I see articles about managing bad employees, but very little about assistance with obtaining assistance where the worker is abused, misled, lied to, and simply wronged by the manager. I would go to the EEOC, but if it is not sexual harassment, then here in GA, there is no much that can be done. Is there a "ratemyboss.com"?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/8/2006 2:43:00 PM

    In my experience, there really isn't refuge and assistance unless laws have been broken, and even then it's an uphill struggle. At my former employer a mistreated employee achieved a substantial legal settlement, but the problematic behavior continued - no one was punished. In an abusive environment, some get along by going along, others get ahead by joining the abusers. Still others, like me, leave. I sacrificed some, but gained more. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad bosses out there, and getting stuck with one is something that happens. How we deal with it is up to us - weigh the options, and make peace with whatever action you take. Good luck!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/9/2006 1:14:00 PM

    Good answer. Cutting your losses can be hard in the short term, but you will win in the long term. If that is your choice. Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/22/2006 10:32:00 PM

    We always hear complaints about incompetent, bad and horrible bosses. But how come such bad, incompetent people can become a boss? And it's not a few bad bosses, but a lot out there. It's not only in small company but it's also in the MNC companies.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/23/2006 7:08:00 AM

    I spoke at a leadership conference in October and one of the other speakers was talking about this same subject. She felt that it was because a lot of companies still maintain a "good ole boy" network where people move up because of years with a company and not their ability to lead. It is my opinion that corporate America is responsible for breeding a culture of hard nosed leaders to get bottom line results. It creates what I call a "lost identity" where these leaders identify themselves purely through their titles and will sacrifice everything for the financial gain of the company. They do this to maintain status and their positions. Long story short, greed is evil people. Chris O.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/25/2006 12:28:00 PM

    I have a boss that was never a manager. He was laid off for quite a while but new how to do metrics and charts and saying the right thing to his boss. I also have gone to HR for help and have been told that it is I who need to change my behavior. That as a boss they can act any way they want. This company has been in buisness for 30 years and is privatly owned. I like the people on my team and I love the work, but I looking to move on.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/25/2006 5:34:00 PM

    NEWS FLASH-I posted here several months ago about a nonrenewed contract and being advised to resign.I was told some of my co-workers did not support me but was offered nothing in terms of performance problems. I stuck it out for 8 weeks after I resigned and it was hell with fluorescent lights for every moment of the day. As if the situation wasn't bad enough I had a mandatory exit review which was very stressful. I played nice, didn't burn bridges and generally sucked up my anger during the exit interview. I left the company 4 weeks ago and found another (better) job. The company that forced me to resigned has been calling me to help them out during a high volume period as they don't have enough staff. Last night I got a call from a new director from old company that has been asking questions about the department he is going to manage and specifically about certain individuals that I know had something to do with my nonrenewed contract ie the bad eggs?. How should this be handled? Do I keep my mouth shut and continue the professional demeanor or do I come clean about the real story there? All I really want is to be left the hell alone so I can heal from the humilation and backstabbing that is so widely accepted there.I shall never go back.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/27/2006 8:55:00 PM

    I've posted here a couple of times. My story is similar - I felt the walls closing in and left before I got squashed. Now that I'm out, I realize just how bad it was and will never go back. My advice - if you speak w/ the new director about the bad eggs, do your best to be factual, keep personal feelings out of it, as hard as that may be. Don't be falsely positive, just objective. I know how intense the emotions can be. I would also be cautious about trusting the new director - he/she may have good intentions, but might end up being sucked into the existing culture. If you're satisfied w/ the new employer, you might want to try build something there and not looking back. Hopefully this makes sense!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/28/2006 1:14:00 PM

    how does one cope with bosses like these you keep thinking you are in it for you.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/30/2006 8:27:00 AM

    I have to say these stories just kill me as a former director/manager. Cutting your loses is usually the best when things get this out of hand. Especially when there is loss of trust. Someone said try to leave your personal feelings out of it. I agree. Being professional around those who are not is the best you can do. Loyalty comes in a variety of forms, and my loyalty is to myself and my family. We work in a country that provides very little protection to employees. We have been programmed to believe that job hopping is bad. We feel un-loyal when we leave a company. Do what you have to do to get out of a bad situation that clearly is not going to resolve itself. If that means changing jobs every year then so be it. I hate to recommend "just quit" but somtimes it is the only course of action. If you boss is not going to back you up, then you better back yourself up. Until there are policies and laws put into place, this poor leadership trend will continue. I hope there are HR and Talent Management directors out there reading this forum. This is why your good talent is walking and your company seems to spend a ton of money on turnover and hiring costs. Chris O.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/30/2006 9:14:00 PM

    Thank you Chris. Common themes are emerging in this site - incompetence, self-interest, backstabbing. While these cultures are unfortunately not rare, they aren't everywhere. I left a bad place and found a better one - better pay, better people. Good places do exist! I believe the bad ones ultimately self-destruct - another reason for good people to leave. I tried to cope with the bad place, but it was so fundamentally opposite my values and beliefs that coping was impossible.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/1/2006 7:47:00 AM

    There are good ones out there and I am glad you mentioned that. I have done manufacturing management consulting for some companies that were truly trying to make a change.........and they did. One company simply "cleaned house" on those managers that were obviously bringing down the house. They made radical changes to their management training and employee based programs. They created flexible work hours and developed a hiring process that put the responsibility of hiring into the hands of the employees of the perspective department, not the manager. Some thought is was a little unorthodox. I thought it was brilliant and they are doing well. Including record profits and an all time low in turnover. Oh yeah, they are a publicly traded company as well. Chris O.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/1/2006 10:30:00 PM

    Great story - I suspect it took real courage to radically change the status quo. My current employer, with whom I am quite happy, is a large publicly traded corporation, but there is a strong emphasis on integrity and succeeding by satisfying customers. There seem to be very few bad apples in the employee base - the hiring standards are high and counterproductive behavior gets dealt with quickly and decisively. The employees are very energized and fun to work with, and the company is financially successful. Good can triumph over evil, but it takes effort!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/2/2006 8:29:00 AM

    You are right! Chris PS: This is a great message board. I hope it is helping people and allowing this to vent their frustration as well.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/2/2006 7:58:00 PM

    UPDATE- I posted about a company I was forced to resign from and the new director asking for information about the new department he would be managing. Many thanks for the valuable insights on this forum. I have had an epiphany about the dysfunction of the old company only after working in the new internationally known company for the past month. My new employer is positive,provides clear expectations, and others on the team have welcomed me with open arms and much appreciation for the new role I have taken on.(This is wonderful for the self esteem after facing the humilitation of a forced resignation and backstabbing co-workers in the old company that worked in for 20 years!) An added bonus is I have almost doubled my salary because I have valuable experience that is hard to find in my profession. The morale of my story is that when things go bad for nonperformance related work "politics" and management is not willing to make things work brush up the resume and run like hell as fast as you can. I'm lucky to be in a high demand field and realize this can be tough for some occupations but all you really need to remember is that if your work is solid others will value your experience. Working around people who make themselves feel better at the expense of hurting others isn't healthy nor should it ever be tolerated in companies that value their employees. Thamks Chris for your valauble insights and good business karma!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/3/2006 12:26:00 PM

    I am glad I can help and I will continue to provide useful tips for everyone. You stories of frustration and success are all welcome. Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/5/2006 10:55:00 PM

    Numbers 1,4,6 and 10 are my boss' favorites. Humiliates us in front of others (especially other managers and her friends). Once she harassed me for several months because I got into a small argument/disagreement with her. She'd schedule shipments to go out on my shift, on which i'm the sole warehouse operator (there's 7 operators on dayshift), call me the "Lost little boy", laugh if i showed any anger about what she was doing to me. This woman has a past history of mental instability. She sold/used drugs, talked of threatening people that she would kill'em, lesbianism, was molested as a child....she's got serious psychological problems. I'd have a hard time proving she harrasses me cause everyone else in my department wants to stay out of it cause they're gettin up in age and can't find jobs easily.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/9/2006 5:22:00 PM

    Being singles out by a whacko boss isn't fun. Just remember that folks who do this sort of thing are using their power to try and push you over the edge.Try to ignore her bait and just do your job. I had a similar situation at work and it helped me to detach emotionally from thinking anything was personal...it wasn't but rather the boss was unstable.Hang in there!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/20/2006 10:20:00 AM

    I am putting together an online seminar that will outline simple guidelines for protecting yourself against bad bosses. It will also provide simple tools that can be used to identify poor leadership in the organization and how it affects the the company. Chris Ortiz


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/3/2006 7:43:00 PM

    Chris - I think your on-line seminar is a good idea. The more the "sick organization" can be exposed, the better. I recently escaped one, and in hindsight I marvel at how bad it had become. Incompetence, when left unchecked, spreads like a malignancy until the entire organization is infected. Businesses may think they get away with it while maintaining the status quo, but they are doomed when innovation and genuine customer service are required. Companies must have the integrity and self-discipline to police themselves; problems won't just go away on their own.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/6/2006 3:04:00 PM

    Thank you. We hope for a good turn out. There will be a lot of useful information for employees. It will also help human resource people get a good handle on their leadership deficiencies. Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/11/2006 1:39:00 PM

    Sadly I have been the incompentent supervisor - My supervisor before me was the same and I fell into the same trap. The whole team applyed for the position and when I got the job I knew they resented it. I had the technical skill not the managerial and saw the supervisor role as a pay boost. I really did want to make changes but found it too difficult and took on too much work myself. The team ended up disliking each other and I resigned my position. I will not take another supervisor role


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/12/2006 6:08:00 PM

    I applaud you for your honesty and sympathize with your experience. Unfortunately many "incompetent" supervisors go well beyond having skill shortcomings and in fact have serious character flaws. This obviously isn't the case with you, because you recognized the issue and dealt with it forthrightly, probably to point of self-sacrifice. You are to be commended.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/28/2006 7:24:00 AM

    Would everyone like to see the updated 15 Signs of an Incompetant Leader? Chris


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/5/2006 2:29:00 PM

    My boss, simply put, is a moron. She has been 'carried' by a few of us. I cannot take it anymore. We service clients that put their lives into our hands. My boss sits at her computer, shopping for toys for her granddaughter, while I put out fires and stay on top of the really sick clients. Later on, she takes all the credit. There's too much to tell. I get NO support from above. And yes, I would like to see the updated signs.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/18/2006 10:44:00 AM

    I read a great quote today about layoffs and overloading employees. "Work Less So Everybody Works" Chris O.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/19/2006 8:16:00 PM

    I just went through an experience with an incompetent leader. Fortunately the company recognized the situation and he is no longer in a management position. He did not accomplish what he was responsible for, blamed others, and made excuses for his failings - he usually said he was "too busy" with other "very important things". Problem was, the "very important things" weren't getting accomplished either!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/29/2006 11:06:00 AM

    My boss has the 10 of the listed characteristics in his nature. My situation is different though. HR knows about his incompetence and wants to get rid of him, but my bosses boss really likes him. He acts like a child infront of her. It is amazing how people can be similar to be summarizied in 10 paragraphs. We have investigations going on about him, but I have a feeling he will stay. I have support from most of the collegues. My question is I got so suspicious of his talking to my collegues ( as he closes the door all the time), I am afraid it will affect my health in the end. What are the ways to cope with a situation like that and protect my health?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 5/1/2006 9:25:00 AM

    The HR department needs to step up and take some control of the situation. You need to be honest with HR that it is effecting you in this way. Unfortuntely sometimes the best answer is to start looking for other work, if the problem persists with no resolution.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/14/2006 3:54:00 PM

    I recently resigned from a not-for-profit organization. There was no support from my immediate Director. In the past 11 years, the only additional training the management staff received is conferences and seminars that we sought out outselves. No support from HR, either. The CEO, the Executive Director, HR and the Director are all friends. The staff suffer everyday. Most of us did not see a raise, not even a cost of living raise for five years. We stayed, we believed in the mission to work on behalf of our families and their children. It became too much. I resigned. Now after 11 years of employment, the CEO refuses to sign off on my retirement money that I saved with the company. Isn't that legally my money. I was vested at five years.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/15/2006 11:05:00 AM

    I am not sure about legally, but if it is within the parameters of a documented company policy I would seek a lawyer.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/27/2006 7:49:00 PM

    Wow, I feel as though you have worked at the same company as I have for the last 15 years, it is reasuring to know that I am not alone, and at the same time it is discouraging to know that incompetent management is this common. I have been a supervisor at my company for the last 10 years and watched the good ol boy system at work, in the first few years it was very frustrating because I was questioning myself, but as time went by I quickly realized that I was working around an entire corporation thats management structure is threatened by integrity, honesty, intelligence and creativity, all the things they lack, I now know that they do recognize those traits in me, but are too threatened to ever admit it. That in itself has been very rewarding to me, they may have a larger title and bring home a larger check, but they know as well as I who is more capible.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/28/2006 10:31:00 AM

    I am in the process of writing my second leadership book and I am going to dedicate a chapter to all of these responses and stories. Chris Ortiz. I feel all your pain.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/6/2006 11:32:00 AM

    Hare Krishna and greetings from London! I just discovered this website. Amazing! :) How can I contact the author? Akrura dasa Bhaktivedanta Coaching


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/6/2006 11:33:00 AM

    Sorry, I didn't leave my email. Here: Akrura@pamho.net


    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/4/2006 10:36:00 PM

    I work for a city school system as a teacher. Like large cooperations we too have Principals (leader in the building) that are very incompetent. I too work for one. She delegates all of her work to others. She prides her self on taking credit for our schools ability to stay off of the state's failing list, however she is not the one who has the administrative savvy to keep the faculty motivated to move ahead. There are many members of this staff who are protective of her. She should not be an administrator and I don't understand why competent people can't understand that she shouldn't. She is very unorganized and tends to lean toward people who have lower standards and credentials (example: best friend is the cafeteria manager and the head janitor). Her favorite phrase when she has totally screwed up is "people let's monitor and adjust". This shows her incompetence and inability to make quick decisions that are effective and accurate. Sadly, I have had to endure this ignorance for six years. I want out and never to see her again. She dislikes me because I challenge her intelligence. (I realize that she's a coo-coo bird). What can I do to continue to work under this ignorance?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/11/2007 5:54:00 PM

    Thanks for this article. I found it refreshing. In almost every place I've worked there was some bozo who would be in charge. For the most part they were nice people. However when it was crunch time, they'd panic. Many of would go off on an employee or even costumers. I've noticed that the less intellegent they they are the more they panicked and then the more they yelled. I've had all sorts of jobs and this has always been the case.


    User: natasha
    Date: 7/28/2007 11:17:00 PM

    This was a great article! One of my bosses at work fits several of the criteria you mentioned. I am thinking about getting another job, but am planning to sell my house and move out of the state. Because of this, I hesitate to change jobs yet, even though this job I once loved I now hate on account of this new boss. He doesn't take responsibility for his own decisions and actions, and blames others for his own mistakes. It's horrible!


    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/24/2007 7:43:00 PM

    Nice. Great article. Describes my boss down to the core. A few weeks ago I had to go over my bosses head and inform his supervisor about what was going on at our place of occupation. As a result we've had to endure a pay cut, and hopefully a change in administration. Things aren't looking great right now, but I feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and my current boss will be shown the door at some point. I just hope that its soon, cause the its been a circus since.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/5/2008 1:56:00 PM

    I couldn't agree more with this article. Having worked in IT and as a contractor for government agencies, I can tell you that poor leadership is pandemic. For the moment, I'm working for a man whose idea of leadership is praising you to your face when you do a good job and then taking credit for your work. One slight error--he cusses up a storm. I can handle these situations rather well; but the point is, I'd prefer not to, so I'm looking for different work. My heart goes out to others who have to deal with tyrants and bullies; these--the tyrants and bullies--are weak people who get their "power" from abusing others. A real leader, as this article says and implies, is someone who makes work fun, challenging, and who can boost the morale of others or a team or both through her or his highly positive energy.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/25/2008 8:17:00 AM

    I have a manager that is on heavy medication, falls asleep in his office, has admitted to short term memory loss, has never worked in my career field and could never do my job, is completely incompetent, and just about everyone I work with just absolutely hates this person. The kicker is, he is a manager at one of our government weapons facilities here in the U.S. How these people always seem to make to a managerial level, I'll never know. It seems as if to become a manager you need to be a sociopath and just plain stupid. I've only had one manager in my life that actually could do my job and do it better than me. It's these kinds of people that should be in management. And they pay these losers $100K + per year too.


    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/29/2008 2:36:00 PM

    who are the misfits who hire morons who play judge or god when a client requests a subject and is informed that the server will not permit them to view'The six figure hot shots are not caring about how the service is operating. Who can a paying client talk to?


    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/29/2008 10:54:00 PM

    I have worked for the public service and the management is pathetic. Poor leadership, management never accountable for their actions and nit pick your brain to the point they do not use their own. All incompetent managers are dead wood and should be kicked out the window. But it is really hard to find top notch management these days. Especially in I.T.


    User: stefd
    Date: 3/7/2010 9:59:00 AM

    I have a couple of incompetent leaders and in a tough spot. They will not let me do the things necessary to drive a successful endeavor - mainly for ego reasons. And yes, they will try to pin the failure on me - it is an easy out. However, I really am dedicated to the mission of the work and the job market out there is tough. There is no guarantee there will be competent leaders at the next job if I leave. How can I become competent at still being successful with poor leadership? How does one skirt around weaknesses to get the job done?



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